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Exercise During Cancer Treatment Can Help Dodge Side Effects

Exercise During Cancer Treatment Can Help Dodge Side Effects

The regime of exercise during Cancer Treatment can be really fun. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults and cancer patients alike engage in moderate exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week and muscle-strengthening activities for about two days a week.

For cancer patients, the choice of exercising method depends on the toll cancer has taken, and the Cancer Treatment side effects say, Josie Gardiner, co-author of The Breast Cancer Survivor's Fitness Plan. Gardiner continues that the more Chemotherapy and radiotherapy a cancer patient undergoes, the more Fatigue the cancer patient would feel.

She usually advises the countless cancer patients and survivors whom she has worked with to listen to their bodies. Rate Fatigue on a scale of 4, Gardiner reminds her clients. Rating would help determine whether to go through strenuous workouts. If you are extremely fatigued, then it's better to give your body some rest, but if you rate your Fatigue at 1 or 2, then doing something is better than doing nothing.

Exercise During Cancer Treatment Can Help Dodge Side Effects

Also Read: Best Exercise For Cancer Patients

Exercising and Cancer Patients

Earlier, doctors would advise patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses against any form of physical activity. At the time, this piece of advice made sense if the tiniest movement caused pain, an accelerated heart rate, or difficulty in breathing.

However recent studies reveal new findings regarding exercise during Cancer Treatment. Engaging in physical activities is not just safe, but it comes with numerous benefits for cancer patients, such as improving the quality of life and function of the body.

Research further points out that too much rest can adversely affect body functioning, weaken muscles, and lessen the range of motion. Many cancer care providers urge patients to be as active as possible during and after cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy radiotherapy.

Benefits of exercise during cancer treatment

The following are some important benefits of exercise during cancer treatment:

  • Improves body functioning and movement of limbs
  • Enhances physical balance, which reduces the chances of falling and breaking bones
  • Prevents weakening of muscles resulting from inactivity
  • Reduces risks of contracting heart diseases and osteoporosis (weakening and breaking of bones)
  • Enhances the blood flow and prevents blood clots
  • Makes you believe in self-help to conduct day-to-day activities
  • Boosts your self-esteem
  • Reduces nausea, depression, and anxiety
  • Helps control weight and reduces fatigue
  • Enables you to keep up with social contacts
  • Improves the quality of life

Research has yet to prove whether exercise is the ultimate cure to cancer, but it vouches for the fact that regular moderate exercise has positive effects on the physical and mental well-being of cancer patients.

Exercising and Cancer Treatment Four types of exercises that are a must

Josie Gardiner says that the four types of exercise for cancer patients. These are important for all adults, with or without cancer. They include:

  1. Aerobics: Aerobic exercises can increase the heart rate, burn calories (thereby helping you to maintain your body weight), decrease fat, and increase the metabolism of your body apart from building lean muscle mass. Aerobics can also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Gardiner thinks walking exercises would be the best place to start for patients getting cancer treatment.
  2. Strength: Strength training exercises can help enhance muscle tone and overcome muscle loss, a characteristic of ageing. Training with dumbbells, weight machines, and barbells are common alternatives. Bone density differs for healthy adults and cancer patients. A woman undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy can lose bone density within a year as much as an average woman would lose within a decade. Hence, it is vital to partake in weight-bearing and strength exercises to build bone density and maintain it through and through. It would be wise to consult a doctor regarding a strength training regimen if you are undergoing cancer treatment, suggests Gardiner.
  3. Balance: Having the right balance is a must for a workout to be void of slipping and tripping. Some cancer patients complain of clumsiness, caused by specific drugs known to impair balance. Additionally, for most patients, Chemotherapy would result in affected bone mass, and for them, one fall has the unfortunate luck of breaking bones. Therefore, it is vital to include balance exercises, such as walking down a narrow pathway and heel raises in your fitness plan.
  4. Stretching: Patients who have undergone Surgery for cancer might feel weakness in specific areas of their body. Stretching exercises can help regain the strength and mobility of the affected body part. For instance, Breast Cancer surgeries may cause weakness in shoulder girdles. Women who underwent Surgery for Breast Cancer would have to walk their arms up a wall to improve their range of motion. Gardiner recommends talking to your doctor before indulging in stretching exercises.

Exercise during Cancer Treatment; it's all about having some fun

Take exercise during cancer treatment, and even exercising in general, as a light activity instead of labelling it as 'burdensome.' Sure, cancer patients can't get to exercise at the pace of a healthy adult, but that's because of the Fatigue caused by various cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.

Exercise During Cancer Treatment Can Help Dodge Side Effects

Also Read: Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Discover the importance of being physically active and gradually increasing exercise goals each day. Stay safe, have fun, and create a personalized fitness plan that fits your needs. Start your journey towards optimal fitness today!

Relief & Comfort from pain and other side effects in Your Cancer Journey

For personalized guidance on cancer treatments and complementary therapies, consult our experts at ZenOnco.io or call +91 9930709000

Reference:

  1. Mustian KM, Sprod LK, Palesh OG, Peppone LJ, Janelsins MC, Mohile SG, Carroll J. Exercise for the management of side effects and quality of life among cancer survivors. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2009 Nov-Dec;8(6):325-30. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181c22324. PMID: 19904073; PMCID: PMC2875185.
  2. Ashcraft KA, Warner AB, Jones LW, Dewhirst MW. Exercise as Adjunct Therapy in Cancer. Semin Radiat Oncol. 2019 Jan;29(1):16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2018.10.001. PMID: 30573180; PMCID: PMC6656408.
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